Allow me to take you back down memory lane to a time when Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar were XXL freshman, Kanye still wore Nikes and Lil Wayne still made Carter albums. When a little outfit named Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All was making waves in California when their architect and creator came out with this behemoth of a song. Tyler’s come a long way from eating roaches and having threesomes with a fucking triceratops. Outside of the aforementioned Mac Miller, I’m not sure an artist has changed as drastically as Tyler has the last 10+ years. His latest offering, “Call Me If You Get Lost” is another step in that evolution as well as a nod towards his past.
- “Call Me If You Get Lost” by Tyler, the Creator
- Released June 25, 2021
- 52:41, 16 songs
- Standout Tracks:
- “WusYaName” f/ YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla Sign
- “Juggernaut” f/ Lil Uzi Vert & Pharrell Williams
Tyler’s music has never been constrained by a particular genre. Technically, he’s a rapper but his last album “IGOR” skewed more towards RnB/Alternative. Make no mistake though, Tyler was born and bred in the fires of early 2000’s Hip Hop. That’s no more apparent than when DJ Drama comes across the speakers shouting “I don’t think you ready!” Tyler finally got his Gangsta Grillz album and as a Hip Hop fan, I was ecstatic. For those of you not old enough to realize the significance of this move by Tyler, allow me to enlighten you…
In the early 2000’s, streaming music was just coming to the forefront. As kids, we’d get home, open our download servers (where my Limewire peeps at?!) and pirate music from an industry that had no idea how to handle it. Websites like Datpiff began providing download links and soon mixtapes were the main currency when it came to introducing artists and premiering new music.
DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz was one of the best. From Gucci to Jeezy to Weezy, Barack O’Drama was at the forefront of a movement that would eventually lead to the streaming giants we use today. Tyler and I are from that generation. We probably torrented the same mixtapes and discographies. It’s hard to explain the effect this had on our music taste. I think Tyler tried to channel some of that nostalgia on “Call Me If You Get Lost”. The result is an album that takes a leap forward while also looking back.
Sonically, this album pulls from every facet of Tyler’s musical existence. He spits hard as fuck on “LEMONHEAD” like it’s an outtake from “Bastard.” He croons on “WUSYANAME” then ratchets the energy back up on “LUMBERJACK.” “SWEET/I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE” is the spiritual successor to the vibes set forth on “IGOR.” Tyler even brings his old running mate Domo Genesis back on “MANIFESTO” which thrilled me to no end. (If you’ve never heard their first collab “Supermarket” do yourself a favor and peep this).
Tyler himself said this album is his most personal. Rather than dive into a character as he usually does with an album release, he’s allowing us as the listener into his life unfiltered. On tracks like “WILSHIRE” he’s incredibly forthcoming while detailing a failed relationship with his friends’ girl. “I never been jealous of another man // Especially when I have everything I want at hand // Except you, you.” In fact, “WILSHIRE” might be the high point of the album. It’s over 8 minutes long and one of the best stories Tyler has ever told on record. He also allegedly did the whole thing in one take.
Call Me If You Get Lost
For me personally, the end of “Call Me If You Get Lost” is the highlight. From “JUGGERNAUT” to “WILSHIRE” to “SAFARI” Tyler ends it on a high note that remains personal and real. On the whole, “Call Me If You Get Lost” is a crowning achievement for Tyler. It won’t have the impact of IGOR or the smoothness of Flower Boy. It’s not grating like Cherry Bomb or loud like Goblin and Wolf. Instead, it encompasses everything Tyler has become and everything that has shaped him. The Gangsta Grillz nostalgia wasn’t implemented by accident. Tyler wants us to see what moves him and shapes him. From the overt Pharrell references to the Domo Genesis and Lil’ Wayne features; his past is in focus.
Yet he also keeps an eye on the future. Features from Teezo Touchdown, Lil Uzi Vert and Youngboy Never Broke Again show us that Tyler is adaptable to a new generation. He isn’t remotely close to his peak yet. In fact, we may look back on this album as a midway point in his career. As Tyler continues to evolve, his work only gets better. That’s rare for an artist these days and it’s what separates Tyler from his peers as we step into this next generation of Hip Hop and music in general. You know who to call if you get lost.
Rating: 4 out 5 (superstar level)